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Syngenta reaps bumper harvest

Last year produced a healthy crop for the company. Syngenta

Syngenta has reported that its net profit last year after exceptional items soared by 84 per cent to $460 million (SFr559.1 million).

This content was published on February 10, 2005 - 10:14

The Swiss agrochemicals concern said that sales were up by 11 per cent to $7.27 billion, helped by improving agricultural markets and new products.

The company, based in Basel, announced on Thursday that earnings per share had gone up from $2.45 in 2003 to $4.34 last year, adding that it would return more than $1 billion to shareholders by the end of 2006, up from a previously announced $800 million.

Syngenta’s net profit excluding restructuring, impairment and discontinued operations was $762 million.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected an average net profit of $563 million.

Strategy success

“The results achieved in 2004 amply demonstrate the success of the Syngenta strategy and strength of the product portfolio, which have allowed the company to generate significant, profitable growth,” commented company chairman Heinz Imhof in a communiqué.

“Our commitment to create value for our shareholders is further reinforced by the announcement of an enhanced cash return programme,” he added.

Syngenta raised its earnings guidance three times in 2004, as farm markets pulled out of a five-year recession.

The company said sales of both crop protection products and seeds across all regions and businesses helped fuel the rise.

On a divisional level, sales rose seven per cent in the fourth quarter to $1.18 billion and 11 per cent in the full year to $6.03 billion.

In seeds, sales fell by 19 per cent in the fourth quarter to $152 million and rose 12 per cent to $1.24 billion in the full year.

Charges

Total charges last year relating to a reorganisation programme and acquisitions were $354 million, the statement said. Net debt fell from $864 million from $1.2 billion.

“In 2004, Syngenta delivered growth across all businesses and in all regions in improving agricultural markets, consolidating its leadership position,“ chief executive Michael Pragnell said.

The company was also upbeat in its outlook for the coming two years.

“Our confidence in our people, our ability to innovate and to exploit our broad portfolio and commercial reach, leads us to re-affirm our target of high-teens growth in earnings per share in each of the next two years,” Pragnell added.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Syngenta 2004:

Net profit - $460 million (SFr559.1 million)
Net profit excluding reorganisation costs - $762 million
Sales - $7.26 billion
Proposed dividend - SFr2.70

Syngenta restated 2003 figures to account for changes required by the International Financial Reporting Standards. The company adopted IFRS starting on January 1, 2004.

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In brief

Syngenta is the world leader in crop protection and ranks third in the commercial seeds market.

The company makes products that help farmers fight weeds, fungi and pests.

It was formed in 2000 by the merger of the agrochemicals divisions of AstraZeneca and Novartis.

It employs about 19,000 people in more than 90 countries.

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